Hiroshima and Nagasaki


Hiroshima (hĬr´ōshē´mə, hērō´shmä), city (1990 pop. 1,085,705), capital of Hiroshima prefecture, SW Honshu, Japan, on Hiroshima Bay. It is an important commercial and industrial center manufacturing trucks, ships, automobiles, steel, rubber, furniture, and canned foods. The city is also a market for agricultural and marine products. Founded c.1594 as a castle city on the Ota River delta, Hiroshima is divided by the river's seven mouths into six islands. After 1868, Hiroshima's port, Ujina, was enlarged, and rail lines were built to link it with Kobe and Shimonoseki.

During World War II, Hiroshima was the target of the first atomic bomb ever dropped on a populated area; it was dropped by the United States on Aug. 6, 1945. Almost 130,000 people were killed, injured, or missing, and 90% of the city was leveled. Much of the city has been reconstructed, but a gutted section has been set aside as a "Peace City" to illustrate the effects of an atomic bomb. The Peace Memorial Museum is there. Since 1955 an annual world conference against nuclear weapons has met in Hiroshima.

Hiroshima prefecture (1990 pop. 2,861,699), 3,258 sq mi (8,438 sq km), is generally mountainous, with fertile valleys. Rice and oranges are grown extensively, cattle are raised, textiles are manufactured, and shipyards are plentiful. Hiroshima, Kure, and Onomichi are among the important cities of Japan.

See J. Hersey, Hiroshima (1946, repr. several times); R. Takaki, Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb (1995).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb
Dennis D. Wainstock.
Praeger, 1996
Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs against Japan
J. Samuel Walker.
University of North Carolina Press, 2004 (Revised edition)
Five Days in August: How World War II Became a Nuclear War
Michael D. Gordin.
Princeton University Press, 2007
Hiroshima & Nagasaki: One Necessary Evil, One Tragic Mistake
Loebs, Bruce.
Commonweal, Vol. 122, No. 14, August 18, 1995
The Atomic Bomb: Voices from Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Mark Selden; Kyoko Selden.
M. E. Sharpe, 1989
Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima
Robert Jay Lifton.
Random House, 1967
Were We the Enemy? American Survivors of Hiroshima
Rinjiro Sodei; John Junkerman.
Westview Press, 1998
The Atomic Bomb Suppressed: American Censorship in Occupied Japan
Monica Braw.
M. E. Sharpe, 1991
Truman and the Hiroshima Cult
Robert P. Newman.
Michigan State University Press, 1995
Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician, August 6-September 30, 1945
Michihiko Hachiya; Warner Wells; Warner Wells.
University of North Carolina Press, 1995
Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Physical, Medical, and Social Effects of the Atomic Bombings
Eisei Ishikawa; David L. Swain; Committee for the Compilation of Materials on Damage Caused by the Atomic Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Basic Books, 1981
Living with the Bomb: American and Japanese Cultural Conflicts in the Nuclear Age
Laura Hein; Mark Selden.
M.E. Sharpe, 1997
America's Wars in Asia: A Cultural Approach to History and Memory
Philip West; Steven I. Levine; Jackie Hiltz.
M.E. Sharpe, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in multiple chapters
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